Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   paving scammer on Dug Hill Road
Monday, November 21 2022

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

I awoke this morning with a touch of what felt like a sore throat on the left side. It made me wonder if Gretchen (who has a cold again) had given it to me. But the "sore throat" was actually a sore gum at the root of my lower left wisdom tooth. Such soreness happens occasionally and seems more similar to a canker sore than to a sore throat. I found I could soothe the discomfort with anbesol.
This morning during the scrum standup (which starts at 9:30am), I saw a white pickup truck acting strangely in front of the house. It stopped in front of our driveway and then backed up several hundred feet to the north (uphill). Then the truck came back and pulled into our driveway. It had no markings on it, and I worried if maybe it was some undercover official investigating some law I might've infringed. A white guy in a cowboy hat got out and walked to our door, but then he quickly returned to his truck, got inside, and started obnoxiously beeping his horn. I muted my standup meeting and stuck my head out into the teevee room to yell at Gretchen (who was watching teevee at a high volume to hear it over her exercise machine, which she's back to using). I told her a mystery man in a white truck was out in our driveway and she should go talk to him before our dogs attacked him. I then stuck my ear out the door to hear their initial interaction. I heard the man say he'd seen our dog door and retreated so as not to be bitten by whatever dogs we might have. He then said something that suggested he was trying to scammily sell something, so I returned to my scrum meeting. Gretchen later appeared in my doorway and said that the guy in the white truck had said he was doing paving down on Wynkoop and would have extra material leftover and said he could pave our driveway for a discount. Gretchen asked what was the price he could do it for, and he said $3000. She said no thanks, but that if the price had been $1000, she might've considered. Hearing this, I said it sounded like a scam to me, and that the story about a nearby paving job with surplus material was an embellishment added to supply a reason for a potential (and fleeting) discount. I added that the $3000 price didn't sound particularly discounted. Curious, I did a Google search for "asphalt paving scams" and found that what had just happened had all the hallmarks of a well-known scam:

  • A stranger showed up at our door unannounced.
  • The stranger drove an unmarked white truck.
  • The stranger claimed he is doing a paving job nearby and that there will be material leftover.
  • The stranger offered a repaving price of $3000.

The day was sunny but cold, and at noon, I gathered a reasonably heavy load of dry chestnut oak from the fallen tree I'd bucked up on the bluff southwest of where the Stick Trail crosses the Chamomile, which felt satisfying. But I couldn't make myself do much day job work as my eyes kept glazing over at the prospect of researching XSS vulnerabilities in a legacy classic ASP web application.
At the end of the workday, I took my usual Monday evening bath. Gretchen was working late, so I didn't prepare dinner. Instead we browsed on leftovers while watching the latest episode of the latest season of the White Lotus.

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